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Leaving teaching?

Discussion in 'Professional development' started by stormysky, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. Aurorem - I'm pretty sure that you could come up with some good options with your multi-lingual skills. The first thing whenever you're trying to make a big shift like this is to sit down (maybe with friends who you can trust?) and list the qualities and things that you ENJOY and are good at. Then work from there. With the addition of alcohol it could be quite fun - you never know what ideas might come up!
    On a more serious note I resonate strongly with many people on here. I did my GTP in a very tough school (12% GCSE A*-C - don't know how I bloody survived. HoD did say it was a minor miracle!) and then my NQT in a good average comprehensive.
    GTP = kids from the abyss, workload like you couldn't imagine, amazing staff. Hours were about 80 a week.
    NQT = average kids, perfectly reasonable workload (50hours ish), nightmare staff (had to start Union complaint against HoD it go that bad!).
    Both years were a total nightmare for different reasons. I'm really not sure which stress was easier to deal with. But not surprising, it left a very bad taste about teaching in my mouth.
    I went on to do a CELTA - the gold standard for TEFL (possible recommendation for people here?) and have just spent a year and a bit travelling and spent 6 months teaching English to South-East Asian kids in Australia - where the money is pretty good for this kind of thing. This was teaching that I actually really enjoyed, and I loved the subject - linguistics and dissecting the English language more than what I teach in high-schools (which is Science. BOOORRIING!).
    So, an option for people here is to move into TEFL. One word of warning though - you'd be better off moving to a country other than the UK for this work. I worked over the summer holidays just to keep the money rolling in and the pay is pretty poor compared to 'mainstream teaching' but enough to just get by on. Australia paid pretty well and I believe this is the case for many other countries - you'd have to look at it on a case by case basis.
    I'm now doing day to day supply in high schools - because TEFL is dried up and doesn't pay enough for me (saving for travelling again!). I've got the chance to go and interview for a school very close to me which is a good school and it's a 2 term maternity cover job. Problem is, I felt apprehensive and stressed doing the application, felt angry at myself for spending the time on it (for a job I don't want? what the hell am I thinking?!) then got the bloody interview.
    Now I'm stressed about the interview because the lesson ob will be half hour of A-Level teaching - which I've never done, and I'm thinking - should I even bother to make the effort?
    I hate teaching and the thought of going back into a school one day (which may happen if I don't find something else - I don't have any other skills I can bring to the fore at the moment) as a permanent member staff with planning, preparation and marking makes me feel physically ill. But although I'm told by one and all that I'm a good teacher (and I do beleive that I am. Not the best but good) I've realised recently that those 'penny drop' moments that other people write about just don't happen for me. I was speaking to someone at a school I supplied at yesterday and she was going on about 'it's all about changing kids lives and that's what keeps me going'. She was genuine and everything. It just made me think, "I know I should care, and I know that I should find this a rewarding profession. But I don't care and I don't find it rewarding". What's more, I've found throughout the whole thing from GTP onwards that I'm just really bored. Bored by the curriculum, the paperwork, the kids, the parents, the planning. Bored by the whole system.
    I kept on telling myself that things will get better because, at the end of the day, teaching is a very challenging profession with a big, and infinite, learning curve, and these things *do* take time. But it never got better.
    I'm still in a quandry about the interview for two terms even because it would be a big step up if I got the job (A-level and all) and all my energy would go into that. I actually enjoy the kids during supply a lot of the time and then just get to go home and get on with life. But pressures from parents, expectations from those around you, not to mention this awful "what you *should* do" and "what you *should* feel" pressures conspire to keep me from completely saying no - don't want a 'proper' job.
    Is it really worth doing it just to satisfy other people around you, or because it's 'the sensible thing to do' when everything inside you is screaming 'no'?
    Does anyone else feel the same? Reading the posts here has helped me a lot - you see things that you agree with and it helps you get your own thoughts in order.
    I'm really sorry for the length of this post, but this is an important thread and I wanted to make my contribution on the off-chance that it helps other people make clear decisions - one way or another - about how to go forward.
  2. thesynapseuk - I'm assuming your applying for an A-level science role. A-level is enjoyable as you wont be dealing with ungracious little brats running around the classroom, but it requires a lot of planning and marking especially for practicals. For the interview make sure you read the syllabus and specification for the topic you are to teach for that particular exam board and make sure your subject knowledge is bulletproof.
    From your post it sounds like your heart isn't into the profession at all and it's probably going to linger on forever should you stay on. if your going to break away from teaching I hope your family and those around will be more supportive and understanding of your decision.

    It seems to be a reccuring theme on this forum that expectations of others around "unhappy teacher" are keeping them locked up a job they hate.
  3. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Is it others or is it our own expectations? Part of me wants to continue to prove to myself I can do it, a big part of me still loves the job anyway. A lot of people seem to think they are failures if they walk away - I hope people can fight that thinking. I find people close to me try to dissuade me from leaving but that's because I'm not sure I want to give it up yet and they know that.
    Good luck to you all.
  4. Becky70 I'm glad you still enjoy some aspects of teaching. Just to clarify, I'm just saying that it seems a lot here don't want to disappoint those around them (eg family and colleagues) or even themselves. I've been like that myself too.
    Personally I went through hell for my PGCE at two tough inner city schools (each <25% A-C GCSE bottom of the sink schools) and always said to myself I'm not a quitter, thickskinned, and stuck with this attitude throughout my teaching career somehow rationalising in my mind that i was doing the right thing and it could only get better, although I was generally miserable. And I was losing my health. It takes balls the size of watermelons to get the courage to leave and start fresh and i had an immense amount of soul searching this summer before I finally called it quits.
    I too hope people can fight that thinking of being a failure or a disappointment if they quit teaching and move on with life.Good luck.
  5. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    Well done to you for leaving! I resigned from my permanent post but haven't left the profession (yet?) You've clearly got a lot of guts. Hope you enjoy your next step.
  6. Funny thing - recent update - is that the school has offered to drop the A-Level component if I'll still come and interview! Seems as though they might really want me.
    The trouble with me is that I don't have anything else lined up to go to yet - although I'm working on that in a few ways. I also want to go travelling again so now is not the time to start a brand new career. Maybe after travelling but not now.
    With regards to my heart not being in it - I think you maybe right. But after the experience that we've both had in crappy schools and then I got massively bullied at the last one most people might feel the same!
    I going to give this another chance. it's a good school on my doorstep and the alternative is not knowing from day to day, week to week, month to month if I'm going to earn or not doing day-to day supply. AND I might be travelling a lot so the 'time at home' may not be much different. Plus holidays will be paid! The A-level would've required too much effort to get up to scratch, but KS3 and KS4 will be easier and I'm willing to have a go. I'd rather deal with behaviour than more paperwork - it's what's made me a good supply teacher so far.
    I think the point about your OWN expectations is very valid and certainly applies to me. I don't want to feel like a quitter and most people who give teaching a go have high expectations for life, themselves and others.
    Time will tell.
    Good luck and God bless people.
  7. Remember that failure is being too frightened to try something. Success is trying something out even though we don't know how it will work out. For this reason I know I am not a failure for choosing to leave teaching. I think we should trust our gut instinct - if you don't feel quite right about something, it probably isn't right. I've realised it doesn't matter what other people think of me. Life's not about being completely stressed out in a job and not having any free time, it's about family, friends, getting fulfillment and enjoyment from life and helping others. And just doing your best.
  8. Couldn't agree with you more Oscar12.

    Having said that I've just got the job! Doh! It's a nice school though very close to my home so I'm willing to give it a go. I had a very rough ride before in teaching and this really could be different.

    But I agree that failure can also be not changing things when you know you should. As for me, this is temporary and I still have no mortgage/kids to maintain so I'm still pressure free, so if it doesn't work out I'll just quit and move on. But good luck to you fella for following your convictions.

  9. To thesynapseuk - just wanted to say well done on getting the job. But if I were you I would spend the time you have working there thinking of a new and viable career option.
    I've been teaching for 4 years (never done anything else) and like you, my heart has never really been in it - unfortunately I got used to the ok pay and the holidays.
    Have just started my 3rd job (previous job was in a sixth form with fantastic, lovely staff and students) but was only there on a fixed term contract. Have now started at a very challenging school and am constantly told it will get easier but to be honest, I don't believe that the behaviour and attitude of the kids will get better, I just think people get used to it.
    Have now reached a point where I'm prepared to leave teaching. Much of the time I find it boring and I worry that if I don't leave now, I will find it harder to move into another career. It sounds to me like you're at a similar point - have you looked at remaining in education but not teaching? I've just applied for a job at a university which looks interesting (not teaching), fingers crossed..as I'm hoping and praying that I can hand in my notice by 31st october.
    Anyway, good luck in your new job. Even if you hate it, at least you know it's only temporary (and is bringing the money in [​IMG])

  10. To thesynapseuk,
    Hi there - yes, well done on getting the position - at least it was worth the planning and preparation for the interview! I agree with bhangragal, I think you should continue thinking and researching career options for the future as I'm sure you will be doing. I've been to a few interviews for jobs that I wasn't sure I wanted but I went through the stress of it all anyway - not any more! It sounds like you're willing to give it a go for a bit longer and it's good that it's only down the road which helps enormously. Like bhangragal said, if you get to the point where it's getting too much then you can always go and do day to day supply again until you find another job. I'm looking into an education related job so at least I can use my teaching qualifications for a bit e.g. key skills tutor, assessor roles or maybe I'l re-train and do something unrelated..

  11. stormysky

    stormysky New commenter

    Wow! Havn't looked at this thread in a while! Seemed like I opened a WHOLE can of worms! It's nice to know that I'm the only one that doesn't find teaching the life-fufilling super career that it's marketed as.. and I didn't go in blindfolded!
    Well, an update from me... I'm feeling slightly better about things, although I am resloved to look for a new job.. di want to be out by Christmas but that's not going to happen now... anyway, here's hoping for Leaving at then end of the academic year eh?
    I'll try another school, or two while I save up money to go travelling and do my CELTA certificate then ... I'M OFF! Goodbye England, good bye grey, goodbye boredom.....!
    Three years and counting... I'm making the change!
  12. It's certainly nice to know that I'm not in this sort of situation alone. I've been applying for new jobs since June (outside of teaching).

    Has anyone here had any experience of leaving a post outside the allotted time? My situation is that since I have no job to go to yet, I've been unable to hand in my resignation, however I have a job interview coming up in a week and a half for a non-teaching post. I'm prepared to walk if necessary to get this job as I'm so desperate to leave this profession and my current position. I've been given some idea of what to do regarding approaching the head, but obviously I cant until I've had the interview and by chance got the job offer.

    I'm aware there can be legal implications depending on which way the head wants to play it. I get on relatively well with my current head, but I'm stressed about the prospect of 'not' being able to leave for this job. I never intend on returning to teaching, so things such as being struck off the teaching register are meaningless to me, but monetary consequences are my biggest fear.
  13. Remiel. I thought it would be the norm to let the head know that you are looking for another job, but some might take that quite badly as what happened to a former colleague of mine (who then got threats of bad references, harrassed by excessive lesson observations and criticism by the heads SMT henchmen etc).
    wishing you the best in moving on from teaching.
  14. wafers

    wafers New commenter

    I am in my 10th year of teaching. I taught for 5 years in a small school which was laid back (unreal in school terms) overall, and loved it. Since moved to a bigger school and am now sick of the job, kids are great and partly get a buzz from it, but paperwork is now obscene and app is taking over too. Literally no spare time, can't relax whatsoever, and also having a major impact on my home life.
    Sensible me says try another school before you say no, but am dreading the concept of bringing work home, increased focus on paperwork, and generally having a job that takes over my life.
    Even worse, want to give before the end of this half-term to leave Feb half-term; research tonight suggests that I won't be able to leave until the end of a term??
  15. I work for a company called EBSCO in New Barnet London - www.ebscohost.com and we supply educational content for Universities, FE Colleges, Schools, the NHS and many other organisations both in the UK and the ROW.
    We are always looking for school teachers who want a change and we currently have a vacancy for an inside sales person to manage the South West region of the UK due to expansion of the business from a nice relaxed office in New Barnet.
    2 of our most successful staff are ex-teachers and my previous boss (ex teacher) now works for our company in Boston USA.
    If you are local to New Barnet and interested drop me an email and I will let you have more information [​IMG]
  16. Its such a relief (is that a good thing?) to see so many people thikinng what have done for a while. I've been teaching for 9 years now in 2 different schools and the grass is not greener as i thought. i dont think its anything about the school but the downhill slide of the job. the holidays are great but i often ask myself (very often) whether I would give them up just to get my evenings/weekends back? I haven't had a free weekend in term time since I started my career. Is thats the same for anyone else? Just to get home and do stuff like watch TV or relax on the sofa or go out to the cinema on a school night! God forbid on a school night! My husband is also a teacher and its great to have holidays together-that would be awful to give up but I'm close to it! Is it just this country? All i've ever done is teaching? Would I have the skills for any other job? It is a feeling of being trapped- but possibly a self inflicted feeling? Trapped by 12 weeks holiday a year. Is it worth it if you are so exhausted that half of your holidays are spent recovering? I constantly debate with myself! Other colleagues say "I love my job? Don't you" and the truth is yes I love TEACHING but I no longer consider myself a teacher-more like a surrogate parent-paper pushing-punchbag for SLT-undervalued-untrusted/disrespected by parents-so-called professional! Not the idea I bought into or the job portrayed on thse bloody TV adverts! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! OK-rant over!
  17. nightingale25

    nightingale25 New commenter

    Hi 'HeyPeeps'

    I am in a similar situation - my partner is also a teacher and the time off together goes some way to making up for us hardly ever spending any time together the rest of the year. BUT, as you say, i'm wondering whether giving up the holidays would be worth it to have some life back after 37.5h of a more normal working week. Summer holidays give the opportunity to travel, too, but again, I have felt in the past 3 years that my holidays have simply been spent recovering and catching up with the rest of life (home, house paperwork, family etc.) leaving little time to do those things.

    Things must feel pretty bad to outweigh the good points of teaching, of which they are many, but for me, the good no longer outweighs the bad. :( For me, it's the constant confrontation with teenagers that I just can't cope with and is not a strength of my personality.

    I think the job has the power to slowly 'chip away' at your personality and strength. The level of work, energy and effort required to get to the point where it is "rewarding" is just overwhelming. I think there are other jobs where you can get the same level of satisfaction and reward for a fraction of the stress and effort. Perhaps not the pay though.

    Life is about compromises I suppose!
  18. san38

    san38 New commenter

    My advice to all would be - if you want to go, go early! I was a mature entrant at 36 and I've done 10 years. Despite excellent results etc.. I constantly feel I'm failing - whatever I do is not good enough and if you do do well you're put under pressure to 'share good practice' and end up with more work. My personality has been eroded - I have gone from a chatty optimist to an insomniac who is too tired by the end of the day to have even a basic conversation with my husband, But.. after 10 years the money becomes too hard to give up (especially when OH is facing redundancy) and there is some appalling money being paid to other non-teaching 'child care professionals'. I see no way out at present and wish I'd followied my instincts 10 years ago.
  19. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I changed into a total stranger - someone who was scared to go to work, scared to get into my car and finally, someone who couldn't eat or sleep. It really isn't worth it. However, I haven't had to leave teaching to leave that stranger behind and be me again - I just had to leave my school. Try a different school or supply.
    That seems so sad. I really hope you can find some way out if you hate it that much. My material aspirations have had to go but I earn enough to get by. I once earnt more than 30K and I don't expect to earn anything like that ever again but I'm healthy and happy.
  20. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Thanks so much for the support Becky70. I work in a 'good' school and because I have been there 7 years I have become afraid to leave and maybe end up worse off. However, I think now that maybe I've not much to lose by looking at somewhere else. The worst of it is that it's not that I hate it so much - just that we're all put under such pressure to do what we do well even better, that there doesn;t seem the chance of being a 'normal' person as well as whatever counts as a successful teacher. I'm glad things have worked out for you and that gives me hope! Thanks for taking the time to reply so kindly.

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